Riding out Sandy

Dailies, Import -


While other New Yorkers cowered in their apartments by candlelight, our intrepid contributor Nick Goddard took to city streets during the storm on his Honda Cub. Here’s a recounting of his adventure. — Ed.

People seemed to like the Hurricane Irene pictures, so when Sandy hit, my friends and I went on another adventure in hopes of getting some video.

It was a spring tide, and we headed out right at high tide, which coincided with the highest winds of the storm. We had an inkling that the Gowanus Canal would be flooded, so we headed straight for it. My friend drove his Jeep into the flooded road at the 3rd St. crossing, but when it got more than a foot deep we turned around and made our way back onto dryish land.

Right as we left the water, a Honda Pilot turned onto the street. When he saw us, he must have thought “hey, those guys made it!” and he drove in–made a big bow wave too, right up to waist deep water, where his engine stopped. Five or six minutes later he opened the door and stepped out into the waist-deep Gowanus Canal water. If he had gone five or so blocks north he could have crossed easily. The guy mills around in the water, then gets back in his car. As far as I know, he sat in it until the tide went out–an hour later the street was dry and the Pilot was moved to the curb.

The Gowanus neighborhood was flooded too. Home Depot’s parking lot looked to be about four feet deep, and still had a few cars in it.

Today I brought a Go-Pro and hopped on the Cub to explore the carnage, and wound up becoming part of it myself. The Cub’s air intake is really high, and I had gotten confident after the foot-deep water crossing a few seconds earlier. I aimed it at Lake Red Hook on Van Brunt St., and eventually it stopped running in about two feet of water. I borrowed a hose from a firehouse in Red Hook and rinsed the saltwater off the Cub for fifteen minutes. Now it’s home and has spark, but still hasn’t started.

  • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

    It’s a cub, it pretty much can’t die, I’m sure you’ll get it back up!

    Even with the failure, motorcycles are easily the most versatile form of transportation in extreme situations like this.

    Hope you’re all doing alright.

    • nick2ny

      Water and dirt came out of the carb. It was almost drinkable. The oil didn’t look bubbly at all, so I expected it to run when I put the carb back together. Now it runs for about 45 seconds at a time, pops, and then dies. Perhaps the gas is contaminated, but what you see in the video is all it went through, so I don’t see how the tank could have anything but beautiful, pure gas in it. We’ll see tomorrow with some better light.

      And you’re right, motorcycles are excellent in these situations.

      • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

        Sounds like maybe still some ignition gremlins?

        • nick2ny

          Perhaps. Today it started up and now runs better than ever. It was a mixed blessing in disguise, the choke flap screw was loose. Put a little loctite on it and tightened it down. That could have been bad!

  • Ray

    Makes my neighborhood look like a safari. I’m a former Gowanite, a current Columbi-ite, borderline Red Hooker… Maybe if you had tried from the Rev-It side? Still the closest footage of the flooding I’ve seen yet.

    Get it running and into some of the tunnel tubes?

  • BMW11GS

    Sad to see that BMW R1100RS on its side! Hopefully it gets right back up again. What a bummer.

  • Scott-jay

    Thanks for post, neat peek.

  • Ankur V

    Nick, I follow the Car Spotting NYC blog and noticed similar pictures. Any relation?

    • nick2ny

      Yup, Car Spotting NYC is a site that my friend and I made to show people the most interesting vehicles we find in NYC. You can submit your own pictures on the site, but 95% of them are from the two of us.

      I spent 20 minutes figuring out how to make that animated traffic gif last night, I hope you like it.

      • Ankur V

        The traffic information on Google maps has lied to me one too many times. Pretty much the only two times I did not hit traffic on the LIE & the BQE was right before and right after Sandy.